Design & Build: The Case Of An Aussie Retirement House


Experts said a house such as this would cost about a million dollars to build, however, the owner argued that they would expend on this house with an intricate design just over half that estimated cost.

The client (an Australian landscape designer), proposed to achieve this with localized labor. This, therefore, not only meant that he would construct the house and the landscape based on his self-drafted construction plans but also that he would be both Project Manager and Contractor while taking on his teenage son as an apprentice all at the same time.

This project sounds, realistically, more like a gamble rather than a risk to take up yet the Aussie remained adamant that he would raise the family’s first home by DIY.

Re-purposing timber is one of the environmentally friendliest practices of green building and is very common in Australia where supplies of old wooden structures are plentiful, therefore, the said timber was used for this reason but also to keep the construction cost within budget. In so doing green architecture was incorporated in the design and commenting on the same, the wife is never shy to admit how good the feeling is since the impact on the environment was consequently reduced by desisting from felling trees.


Because the site is on a mountain, capturing the sunset was fundamental. This then allowed the use of expansive windows and broad balconies that soar up and above tree tops, disappearing into the horizon. To structurally support these loads atop the triple-story house, a steel and concrete base was proposed to accommodate an open plan Kitchen-Dining-Lounge area and Guest self-contained bedroom.


©GrandDesignsAustralia-Ground Floor


©GrandDesignsAustralia-First Floor



Inside, the house is adorned with undulating walls that carry visiting sightlines to the edge of the inhabited room with a curiosity of sorts for the visitor to know what other rooms they pour into. This organic themed retirement home (not to be mistaken for Retirement communities) afforded no off-the-shelf products and so most of them had to be tailor made. In a different light, both the interior and the exterior might be seen as a work of art.


Emerging above from the Ground Floor and through a curved stairwell, is the main open-plan Kitchen-Dining-Lounge, a public Water Closet, 2 Bedrooms and a Garage. While on the last Floor is the Master Bedroom, a Study and a Studio.



Inasmuch as the labor was localized, the project went surprisingly well until completion and this “schooled” everyone that doubted an undertaking of this magnitude to be wishful thinking on the part of the owner.



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